After the Amber Alert broke through the airwaves and notified the public of the abduction of an 11-year-old girl walking home from her bus stop in Springfield, the community sprung into action to find her.
“The tips coming in were amazing,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said at a late-night press conference Wednesday.
Police were searching for a blue Honda believed to be involved in the kidnapping. “Civilians spotted this car and helped us out immensely,” Clapprood said.
One of those civilians was a couple stopping at a convenience store in Springfield.
Amanda Disley said she saw something suspicious in the vehicle and called 911, telling her husband to put the car in drive and follow him.
“It’s him, it’s him,” Disley said in a panicked 911 call that she recorded on video and shared on Facebook. “They’re doing 100 mph right now.”
Disley and her husband followed as the pulled past their car and sped off down the road past Kennedy Middle School.
“He’s blowing through red lights,” Disley said.
“They’re turning on the street trying to avoid me,” said Disley to the police dispatcher. “They’re trying to lose me; they’re trying to ditch me.”
About six hours after Charlotte Moccia was abducted coming home from school on Wednesday, Massachusetts State Police troopers pulled over a blue Honda heading eastbound on the Massachusetts Turnpike and found the Moccia inside, said David Procopio, state police spokesman.
The call made to dispatch by Disley, “definitely” helped the police catch Rodriguez, according to Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh. She posted the exchange and the chase on her Facebook page.
Miguel Rodriguez, 24, was found in the vehicle and arrested in connection to the abduction, police said.
“Troopers flooded the area after a motorist called 911 to report seeing a car matching the description put out by the Amber Alert. The car was located by troopers in a work zone and pulled over,” Procopio said when announcing at about 7:30 p.m. that Charlotte had been found.
His family told MassLive that Rodriguez has had a history of schizophrenia and paranoia and felt that at some point he would have problems with the authorities. They never imagined it would be this like this, however.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Springfield District Court.
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